Wednesday 30 May 2012

Who will take on Dezko?

26-year old Bosnian striker Edin Dseko was a prolific scorer for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and joined Manchester City in a £27m deal in January 2011. However, things have not worked out for him at the Etihad and he is on his way. Bayern Munich were reported to be interested, but it has not been possible to agree personal terms.

Premiership clubs are thought to take the view that he is too big a risk and it now looks as if he may end up in the Championship. Unfortunately, he is almost certainly above our pay grade but will be a formidable opponent if he joins one of the bigger or massive clubs.

Monday 28 May 2012

Bristol fear 'moneybags' Charlton

Bristol City fear a 'tough' season in the Championship next season. Well, it could be for them as they might well face a relegation battle: Bristol City

Particular concern is expressed about Charlton and Chris Powell's 'expansive war chest' to fund new signings. Obviously they know something we don't as at the end of the season Sir Chris was talking about 'sensible strengthening' which hardly sounds like splashing the cash.

The one surprising thing about this report is that there is no specific discussion of Sheffield Wednesday which one would think would be the team Bristol City would most fear. Instead, they seem more concerned about the three teams relegated from the Premiership who arguably lack the 'massive' status enjoyed by Wednesday.

No doubt Charlton fans venturing to Ashton Gate will receive the usual friendly west country welcome. Plans for a new stadium never seem to come to fruition. One is really in egg chasing territory and Bristol clubs have never made an impact commensurate with the size of the city.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Massive news

The news that the city of Sheffield will be represented solely by its massive team in the Championship next season has already been tweeted to Planet GJ667Cc by a team of electronic artists in Arizona. Unfortunately, the news will take twenty years to get there travelling at the speed of light.

However, more information is emerging about this massive planet. Apparently, part of it, especially towards the north, is occupied by a race of super intelligent giant owls who have enough dexterity in their talons to make steel. The feedstock for the steel comes from intergalactic scrap metal merchants.

Apparently they are the remnants of a little known space expedition that was sent from New Cross to Uranus in the hope of finding intelligent life there as there was none in New Cross. They missed their target and ended up in another part of the galaxy.

One of the scrap merchants said, 'It's an in and out job for us on their planet. The screeching of those owls does your head in. And as for the smell. We beam up to the mother ship as soon as we can and tune into the New Den to chill out.'

The rest of the planet is occupied by a humanoid race called Bladesmen whom the Owls depend on to turn their steel into implements. Apparently their cutlery is much prized in that part of the galaxy.

The two races encounter each other at the massive Merryhell retail outlet.

Friday 25 May 2012

14 years since that day

It is 14 years today since the 'greatest game' when Charlton beat Sunderland on penalties to get promoted to the Premiership. Some of the Addickted couldn't watch and descended into the bowels of a decrepit Wembley until they heard the cheers. When I got home my neighbour, who supports Coventry City, rushed out to greet us. An ITV newsreader announced with a look of surprised horror on her face that the 'tiny' London club had been promoted.

You can read my thoughts at the time here (you need to scroll down): Wembley

We've had some ups and downs since then, and some grim times, but today we can once more be proud of the club and what it has achieved under Chris Powell. Richard Murray always used to think there would one day be a Premiership B and that's where would be. Such a model would have involved fewer clubs in the top and second tier, but in a sense the Championship is a de facto Premiership B.

Not much news at the moment, all summed by an official tweet the other day. 'Quiet day at the training ground. Not much happening.

The Times is featuring a house in Crystal Palace in its property section today. It doesn't look a very good buy anyway, but the downsides forget to mention the locale.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Pardew sets his sights on England job

Alan Pardew would like to follow Roy Hodgson in the England job. No false modesty there, then, and no mention of Charlton Athletic in this interview: Pardew

Pardew does accept, however, that he is not quite ready for the role yet: he has yet to secure a European trophy or, for that matter, manage Sheffield Wednesday. Anyway, it's quality all round as Mihir Bose interviews Pardew in the Sub-Standard.

Stepping up

Former performance analyst and Loughborough University graduate Bradley Pritchard talks about the experience of stepping up from the non-league to play for the Addicks: Pritchard

The year has clearly surpassed his expectations, but he also exceeded mine. He was particularly pleased to play against both Sheffield clubs, both the massive one and the slightly smaller one.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Northern parts

Following the promotion of West Ham, the only teams from the capital in the Championship next season will be the three rival clubs from South London. Watford are on the fringes of London - and could be one possibility for a relegation struggle next year.

Ten of the teams are from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cleveland meaning some long trips for the Addickted who go regularly to away games. However, no trip will be as long as Carlisle, but that was well worth the trouble for those who went.

There are also five teams in the Midlands, plus two from the East of England, one from Wales, one from the West of England (friendly Bristol City), one from the south coast - and Watford.

West Ham were designated as a 'massive' team yesterday but have now left the division. At the time of writing three clubs have been described as 'massive': Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and the Jupiter-size massives, Sheffield Wednesday. Presumably that's all three promotion spots accounted for, but no doubt other clubs will be added to the list of massive over time.

Friday 18 May 2012

Ricardo Gardner linked with Charlton

Rumours are linking central midfielder Ricardo Gardner with the Addicks. He can also play on the left, providing an alternative to Johnnie Jackson. The Jamaican has been released by Bolton Wanderers, but he will be 34 in September.

Rhoys Wiggins has had to withdraw from a possible debut with Wales because of a heel injury. He is on a six week programme to restore his fitness.

West Ham describe themselves this morning as a 'massive' club: if they stay down, they will meet another one.

Apologies for putting a post about the CAP on this page earlier this morning: it has now found its real home.

Thursday 17 May 2012

It's grim 'oop North

I saw the flat cap of our local Burnley fan disappearing in the distance the other day and caught up with him (he really does have a flat cap). He took me to our last away game at Burnley, a cold February evening, and I also went to see Burnley v. Hull as part of his 60th birthday celebrations. Burnley deserve congratulations on what they achieved: it's a small town and I have rarely seen such urban devastation outside the United States. But at least they don't have a huge hole in the middle of the city as is the case in Bradford.

I asked him what he thought of his season given that a mid-table finish might be where we end up next season (certainly better than going back to League One). 'Boring,' he said. But then his face lightened up: 'Both Bolton and Blackburn are going down.' Blackburn are Burnley's deadly rivals (Accrington are geographically in between but seen as a kind of second team by many Burnley fans). Burnley fans even hired a light aircraft to tow an insulting banner across Ewood Park at Blackburn's last game of the season.

'We hate every team in Lancashire,' he explained, 'except Everton.' His three sons support Everton, the Toffees having been a top team when they were growing up, and one of them even went to university in Liverpool so that he could get the full Bluenose experience. I thought that was quite a lot of teams to dislike. 'Even Oldham?', I asked, thinking of them as a rather nondescript team playing in a decrepit ground on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. 'We've got some issues with Oldham,' he said.

I didn't need to raise the question of Yorkshire and the Massives. But I did wonder if Burnley might have a bit of a struggle next season.

Sir Chris becomes pundit

Chris Powell will be a pundit for Sky Sports at the League One play-off final between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. He is also going to the play off final between Blackpool and West Ham United, although not as a pundit. In this way he will get a first look at two teams we will be playing next season.

I will be backing West Ham in the Championship final. My father was born in North Woolwich (admittedly part of Woolwich in those days) and before he moved to Eltham he was a West Ham United supporter. Once he moved to the Progress Estate, his cousin introduced him to Addicktion, although he continued to play for the predecessor club of East Ham United. He went to the first FA Cup final at Wembley to support West Ham. I also think that West Ham treated us better than Crystal Palace for the short time we were tenants at Upton Park, although almost anything would have been an improvement on Selhurst.

The League One play off final is more difficult as I have very good friends who support both teams. However, my preference is for Sheffield United as it would prevent more big headed celebrating by the Massives, although no doubt their fans would point out that the Blades are the smaller club.

In any case I can't watch either game as I don't have Sky. Although there is now a way round Warwick Council's ban on satellite dishes, I wouldn't have enough time to watch it to justify the subscription.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Review of the season

I have only just come across this review of the season but it's lively and well written: Season

A student I hadn't met before came to see me the other day and saw my framed Curbs shirt. She said that she came from Eltham and that her father was a big Charlton supporter. This article suggests that some fans already rate Chris Powell more highly than Curbs and it will be interesting to see how this comparison develops over time.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Blades scrape through

Our Sheffield United correspondent reports on their 1-0 victory over Stevenage at Bramall Lane: 'Blades just scraped through to the final. With one striker in jail, another suspended, and a third injured, goals are a little hard to come by. At least Huddersfield have as poor a record in play-off finals as we do.'

The heroes of Hertfordshire have been the subject of some media hype, but I always though that they were quite an ordinary side, as was demonstrated by a convincing win over them at The Valley. The 1-0 defeat at Stevenage was a bit of a fluke although it had plenty of pessimists proclaiming that we could forget about promotion.

It's going to be an intrigung final and Jordan Rhodes could be the hero of the hour for Huddersfield. Will they then be able to hold on to him or will he opt for going straight to the Premiership?

Pravda is tweeting that Charlton are definitely interested in Dany M'Guessan. It would be a good move in my view, but Millwall may want him back. However, he certainly looked keen on playing for Charlton.

Curbs in the frame again

Alan Curbishley was being listed as a 10-1 hope for the job of Aston Villa manager last night. It is understood that Curbs, who played for Villa, was hurt when he was not considered last time round and the job went to a relegation specialist. The difficulty is that the longer that you are out of the game the more the experience The Times refers to favourably this morning starts to look a little rusty.

Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are the favourites. Martinez turned down Villa twelve months ago, but he may consider that he has had his fill of pulling off spectacular late season escape acts at Wigan. The tide is turning against clubs funded by local boys made good.

Sheffield Wednesday may be a giant, but Villa are true sleeping giants. They are the nearest thing the West Midlands has to a regional team with a strong following in Leamington, for example. A broader question is why West Midlands football is so much in the doldrums with the Baggies under Roy Hodgson as a possible exception. Birmingham City have, of course, faced a very difficult financial situation as I discuss here: Blues.

Despite Birmingham being proclaimed as the second city, and some successful regeneration of the city centre, it often seems to lose out to Manchester, e.g., the running down of the BBC presence in the city and its move of, for example, Radio 5 to Salford. Having an elected mayor might have given it a boost, but Brummies thought otherwise.

Having talked about Curbs, we musn't forget our current manager, Chris Powell, who has won the League One Manager of the Year Award. It is difficult to see who else it could have gone to. The Massives spoilt their chances of a trophy that would normally have gone to them by changing managers midstream.

Monday 14 May 2012

Ilic sets up a yoga detox retreat

Addicks play off hero Sasa Ilic is returning to Montenegro to set up a yoga detox retreat. In 2006 he retired from football to become a consultant for banks in the Balkan region. However, he has retained his Canary Wharf home from where he keeps an eye on the progress of Charlton. He told The Football League Paper 'I regard Charlton as my home club and have a special place in my heart for them.'

The story of how he was signed up to be the keeper of St.Leonards Stamcroft at a football-themed restaurant in London is well known. After the Hastings team won promotion he was given a trial with Aston Villa but they didn't offer him a contract. So he went back to London and his took his boots round to Charlton. He commented, 'The only way I can describe it is pure fate to knock on Charlton's door and not say, West Ham's or Millwall's.' Sasa played the majority of the 1998-99 season before falling behind Dean Kiely in the pecking order.

He could, of course, have tried Sheffield Wednesday but he had fallen in love with London. Milan Mandaric has now proclaimed that the club 'is not a sleeping giant. This is a giant.' His view is endorsed by football writer Chris Dunlavy who says that Hillsborough is better than the San Siro for raw, visceral passion. The two Manchester clubs must be already looking over their shoulders.

Addicks move on to bigger targets

Karleigh Osborne has been let go by Brentford. Charlton were interested in the January transfer window, but only as a cut price deal. The Bees wanted serious money which the player was not thought to be worth. The Addicks are now moving on to bigger targets, as they should.

No doubt in the next few weeks we will get a better idea of what those targets might be, but at the moment Chris Powell is enjoying a well-earned holiday.

Congratulations to Manchester City on winning the title after a 44 year gap. In 1936-7, our first year in the top flight, City beat us to the title by three points. It was probably our best ever chance of winning it. If only money have been spent on more seated accommodation which was regularly sold out even though it was six to seven times more expensive than the terraces.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Championship could be south of the river show

Depending on whether West Ham win the play off finals, the three South London teams - Charlton, Crystal Palace and Millwall - could be the only representatives from the capital in the Championship next season. Although they lost 3-2 in the sensational game at Manchester City, QPR survive in the top flight as Bolton did not do enough at Stoke to displace them. The Super Hoops will be able to strut their stuff in the top flight for another year without the humiliation of a visit to SE7.

It looks as if the Championship will have quite a northern feel next year with plenty of away trips up the M1 and M6. Indeed, if Blackpool fail to beat West Ham and either Sheffield United or Huddersfield Town win the League 1 play off place, half the clubs will be from 'oop North (not including the Midlands).

Manchester City beat Charlton to the title by three points in 1936/37, our best chance ever of winning it, but congratulations to them on an amazing victory.

Massives are among country's top 10 teams

Media celebrations of the massive achievement of Sheffield Wednesday in finishing second in League One are continuing, this triumph completely overshadowing Charlton winning the league with a record equalling 101 points. Today The Football League Paper devotes its Big Interview to a double spread on Owls owner Milan Mandaric who proclaims that the Massives belong in the top ten clubs in the country.

The two Manchester clubs may be top dogs at the moment, but they had better watch out! Incidentally, I was amused that the United fan who was supposed to have been in the Radio 5 studio this morning hadn't turned up. It's a long way from Guildford to Salford!

The outcome of the League 1 play offs is of interest to the Addickted as they will determine one of the teams we play against next year. The Blades had a bore draw against the heroes of Hertfordshire on Friday night. One would think they should win at Bramall Lane. United have won 16 of their 23 home games this season, although they haven't won in their last four matches.

However, a Blade supporting friend of mine says morale has been low since the rape case. Stevenage have not lost to the Blades in three games this season and went 2-0 ahead in the regular league game at Bramall Lane before being pegged back to 2-2. Stevenage supremo Gary Smith has them practising penalties.

If the unbelievable happened and Stevenage won a third successive promotion Championship fans would be exposed to what is essentially still a non-league ground. At least when they played Spurs on television one could see the traffic racing past on the road outside when the hoofing got a bit too boring to watch. Non-league clubs are often denied promotion because they fail to meet strict ground criteria, but no such tests apply in the Football League.

Huddersfied won convincingly at Stadium MK yesterday, although MK Dons fans are blaming an error by referee Darren Deadman which I can well believe given how useless he was when he refereed our games. However, Huddersfield have enough quality to finish them off at home.

So if it is Blades versus Huddersfield at Wembley, will Harold Wilson's team fail in the play offs as usual? I have friends who support both teams, but I have to bear in mind that my discipline's department at Sheffield University is itself simply massive, has made another important transfer signing this month and houses the chair of the research excellence framework panel. The equivalent body last time was headed up by a Huddersfield Town supporter.

My view is the less massive of the two Sheffield sides deserve to go up given their performance over the season as a whole despite their last minute wobble. Apart from anything else it would be one over Wednesday who have now joined Crystal Palace and Millwall on the 'dislike' list at The Valley.

At the other end of the Championship, The Football League Paper are bigging up Carthorse Cole as the key to West Ham's success. The Addickted will remember him for his loan stay at Charlton which he clearly thought was beneath his dignity as shown by his sarcastic acknowledgement of the Covered End when he scored.

I don't have a lot of time for Blackpool because (i) I don't like their owners, (ii) I think their manager is off his trolley, (iii) it's the only away ground where I've been spat at by a player (not at me personally, but the Addickted in general). Also, as my father was born in North Woolwich, he originally supported West Ham until he crossed the river to live in Eltham where his cousin introduced him to the Addicks.

Incidentally this weekend marks the 200th anniversary of the assasination of Spencer Perceval, the only British prime minister to suffer this fate. Growing up at Charlton House and buried in Charlton Church, he is the only prime minister with Addick connections, albeit a bit premature.

Friday 11 May 2012

Pritchard gets international call up

Bradley Pritchard has been hoping for some time to get in the Zimbabwe international squad and now he has got his call up as the team prepares for the next Africa Cup of Nations. There are 30 named players, so it's only the first step but it couldn't have happened to a more popular player. He applauded the East Stand with real fervour after last Saturday's game. More here: Pritchard

Elsewhere Charlton fans are giving financial backing to another 'tiny' club as Dingwall based Ross County prepare for Scottish Premier League action. Read how Addicks fans are helping the Staggies here: Staggies

On the massiveness front, when I took my car in for its MoT yesterday the service manager said that my use of it was 'not massive'. I almost felt like telling him I didn't support Sheffield Wednesday either. Reports after an incident on the M1 near Sheffield said that delays were 'not massive'. The word is clearly catching on.

However, the plan to tweet news of Sheffield Wednesday's progress to a planet twenty light years away allegedly inhabited by super intelligent giant owls has run into problems after it was realised that the Massives would have been relegated by the time the initial news got there.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Massive celebrations in Sheffield

There were massive celebrations in Sheffield last night as thousands of fans poured into the city centre to celebrate the achievements of Sheffield Wednesday who will be on temporary loan to the Championship pending their return to the Premier League: Massive

The Guardian has published a set of reports from League 1 bloggers (Kish representing Charlton). The Owls representative says, apparently without irony, that it has been a 'massive' season for their club. Interestingly, the Blades representative says that their best away trip was to Charlton and praises our fans. More here: Bloggers

Some Charlton fans have suggested that we should have had a civic celebration in Greenwich. However, the Council has other things on its mind such as the Olympics. Also, Charlton fans are much more geographically dispersed, although I made it to SE7 when we first went up to the Premiership and I still have the flag I bought that day. I also think that our own celebrations were excellent and done in a Charlton style, expressing our faith in the club but without being arrogant.

Following last night's win by Blackpool, Birmingham City and Cardiff City are two of the allegedly smaller clubs the Massives will be facing.

Monday 7 May 2012

Massives calling planet GJ667Cc

Planet GJ667Cc is twenty light years away from Earth and it is thought that it has the potential to support life. Now as part of the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art, a plan has been hatched to beam Twitter messages at the hapless inhabitants of the planet. If you want to enter the Twitterverse, you will need to add the hashtag #tweetinspace.

If there is any intelligent life on the planet, they won't think they have encountered another intelligent race when they start receiving this electronic garbage. Indeed, they may well think they have encountered a race of morons whose intellectual reach is limited to 140 characters and spend all their time slagging each other off or are obsessed with the religious figures known as 'celebrities'.

What is the Jubilee Line and why does it keep breaking down? What is the evil force known as Southeastern Trains? Who are the two rival warlords, Boris and Dave? And what is a dancing cat?

However, there may be a way of impressing these aliens. I don't know much about this planet but it could well be massive. Surely then they would be impressed by hearing about such a huge club as Sheffield Wednesday and its feat of coming second in League 1?

Who he?

The latest Sunday Times Sport Rich List names Trevor Hemmings as the owner of both Preston North End and Charlton Athletic. Even the journos at News International papers should know that you can't own two clubs under Football League rules, but no doubt the list was checked by some unpaid intern.

Hemmings is the majority shareholder in Preston North End. He is very much into the gee gees and owns a large string of racehorses, reputedly even more nags than our very own John Window. This report is a bit dated but it gives some idea of where his wealth comes from: Hemmings.

Hemmings was born in Woolwich and he certainly had a stake in the Addicks at one time (and reportedly in Rangers as well although he is probably regretting that). He certainly wasn't in the parade of owners on Saturday but he may be providing some backing behind the scenes out of a sentimental attachment to his home area.

We don't really know who owns the club and to be honest I am not concerned as I am less preoccupied with transparency than the fashionable view requires. But they rescued it from the brink of administration and they have run it well, choosing Chris Powell as manager against a background of concern about his inexperience and arguments that it was a crowd pleasing decision. Gratitude is a commodity in short supply in football, but I am certainly grateful to them, whoever they all are.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Stepping up from the non-league

When Rick Everitt was editing Voice of the Valley and we were in the Premiership, a certain Jonathan Acworth used to write in regularly and suggest non-league players, often from Park View Road, that Charlton should sign. I hear that Acworth has recently written a book called The Highs and Lows of Being a Charlton Fan and certainly Chris Powell should place it on his summer reading list.

Paul from Bexleyheath, who sits to my left in the East Stand, is no Acworth. He is very knowledgeable about football and I was delighted that a five year season ticket holder was able to invite him to the directors' box for Saturday's game. I think Paul missed a game or two at the start of the season and when Bradley Pritchard came on as a sub he asked me who he was. I said that we had signed him from Hayes and Yeading where he was player of the year. Paul's comment was, 'the more I hear, the less I am impressed.'

When Bradley was featured in the programme recently, he remarked that someone had told him that they had forgotten that he was a former non-league player. He has certainly developed over the year. An example was the pinpoint accurate long ball he put in to Yann Kermorgant on Saturday so that he could score his wonder goal. Bradley's energy and commitment have made him a favourite with many Charlton fans. That's not to say that there isn't more work to do. Although his ball control has improved, he sometimes lacks guile and sophistication.

There are many examples of players who had to start their careers in non-league football having failed to make the cut when they left their academies. Bradley came from the first tier of the non-league. Can one make the jump from the third tier to the Championship?

Football League scouts have been in evidence recently at the New Windmill Ground home of Leamington watching young striker Jacob Blyth. The Brakes board knew they had a raw talent on their hands and put him under contract so that that the club could get compensation when he was signed by a higher level team. When Sam Bartram style goalkeeper Breeden was snapped up by Kidderminster Harriers the Brakes got nothing (although Breeden hasn't scored from outfield for them).

It looks as if Leicester City have won the race to sign Blyth. A factor is the friendship between Brakes supremo Paul Holleran and Leicester City's assistant manager. However, Blyth comes from north Warwickshire so signing for Leicester makes a lot of sense. Signing him as a development player could have been too big a punt for the Addicks. I just hope that one day he doesn't score against use for the Foxes.

Saturday 5 May 2012

'We've got our club back'

That was the chant of the Covered End in the middle of a eloquent speech by Chris Powell after the presentation of the League 1 trophy to Charlton at The Valley yesterday. Sometimes days of this kind are an anti-climax, but I enjoyed yesterday more than our last promotion, to the Premiership. It feels as if a dark cloud has lifted from The Valley. There are many challenges ahead, but they will be more exciting and worthwhile ones than in League 1.

Everyone is being very English and ignoring the smurfs on the adjacent escalator

At London Bridge, I had a large number of Hartlepool supporters asking me what train they should get, what the station was called and whether a travelcard was valid. They seemed more confused than the average crowd from up north, but also very friendly.

I got to The Valley by about 1.15 but already there were large crowds around. The attendance was 26,749 which I think is enough to give us our highest ever average attendance in League 1. I had to queue for some time in the club shop, soon to be taken over by Nike, to get my souvenirs.

The build up to the match was just superb. The singers were excellent, not least the South Korean lady. It was also great to see Charlton legend Richard Rufus whom my wife used to sponsor: we have a number of his signed shirts and gave one to the Rose of Denmark. However, the landing of the Red Devils on the pitch, one of them carrying the match ball, was simply superb. It must take real and courage to jump out of a small aircraft and land on what is, relatively speaking, a patch of grass surrounded by tall structures.

The Hartlepool players and the officials formed a guard of honour for the players. We started the match with a rather slow tempo, treating it very much as an exhibition or training game. It was nine minutes before we launched an attack that was worth noting and then it came to nothing. On twelve minutes Wiggins was forced to concede a corner to the visitors but the ball went over. Charlton won their first corner on 19 minutes. It was taken by skipper Johnnie Jackson, but the header from Wright-Phillips was caught by the former Glazier in the Hartlepool goal.

Good work by Wiggins led to a second Charlton corner but it was caught by the keeper. Wright-Phillips went on a run which ended with an unproductive Charton free kick. A mix up between Solly and Hamer led to a corner for the visitors. Johnnie Jackson had to be taken off, presumably because he had a knock or strain although I didn't notice anything. Haynes replaced him.

We paid the price for our somewhat casual approach on the half hour mark when from a Hartlepool corner the unmarked Peter Hartley was able to sneak the ball into net along the ground at the near post.

Wright-Phillips had a half chance at an angle, but he is not too good at those and the ball went just wide. Hollands challenged Scott Flinders in the Hartlepool goal and won the Addicks a corner. The visitors looked dangerous with some corners, but we went in at the break only one goal down. The backroom staff were recognised with medals. Alan Curbishley came on to the pitch and paid tribute to Chris Powell.

HT: 0-1

When Chris Powell was appointed as manager, some people argued that he was too nice to do the job well. He is a genuinely nice person and he doesn't throw the tea cups around, but that doesn't mean he can't be firm. No doubt he had a few things to say at half time and indeed he showed his frustration from the touchline during the game.

Whatever he said didn't have immediate effect and the usual suspects in the East Stand started to give vent to their frustration. Someone said to me in the pub afterwards that the crowd is very fickle and goodness knows what will happen if we hit a rough patch in the Championship. I was quietly confident that our quality would show through.

It didn't start well with a free kick on the D after a trip. The match was generally played in a good spirit and there were no cards awarded. Hamer saved the free kick but was then challenged and seemed to fumble but the move ended in an offside decision. Yann Kermorgant fed Wright-Phillips but his effort went over. Charlton won a corner taken by Dale Stephens but it was saved. The subdued Scott Wagstaff was taken off and replaced by Bradley Pritchard which made a real difference. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, the midfield had been flat and had not got forward enough.

Wiggins won Charlton a corner and Hollands was able to equalise with a decisive short. Then from another Charlton corner Danny Haynes made it 2-1 by nodding the ball in the net after Taylor had looped it in and the mood relaxed. The best was yet to come, however. Bradley Pritchard put in a good long ball to Yann Kermorgant. The angle looked completely impossible but the ball went in the net. I just wrote 'Fab!'. This is a goal I will remember for a long time.

Then on 86 minutes Gary Liddle scored a second for Hartlepool. It came from more or less nowhere but was really a product of sloppiness and over confidence on our part. It threatened us achieving the ton but we stayed in command for the four minutes of time added on and ended the season with 101 points.

Such was the excitement that the news that the Massives had been promoted as well was not recognised as it should have been by bowing in the general direction of Sheffield. Today the Football League Paper describes Wednesday as a 'huge' club: how many superlatives are there. Radio 5 headlined an interview with manager Dave Jones discussing whether they would go straight up to the Premiership. No thought of interviewing the unfashionable champions, although Sir Chris himself has warned us to be realistic.

On the Football League Show our match got cursory attention, while the presenters could scarcely contain their excitement about Wednesday, proclaiming that they would be the 'biggest club' in the Championship next year. That puzzled me a bit as either Birmingham City or West Ham United will stay down, the clubs that are likely to come down from the Premiership are not exactly small ones and nor are clubs like Cardiff City or Leicester City tiny. But never let the facts spoil a good story. The Football League Paper had a front page taken up entirely with a photo of Miguel Llera surrounded by adoring Massives with the strapline 'Salute the Heroes'. We can already see what the media agenda for next season is.

The players were given their medals by the chairman of the Football League and a mini skirted director of sponsorship from nPower. It was good to see the loan players recognised. The trophy was presented, the players paraded around the pitch and Chris Powell made the eloquent speech that showed how he is Charlton through and through.

I went to the pub afterwards and two Hartlepool coach went past and we applauded them as they waved back. They played their full part in the day with their Smurf costumes. I finally got back to Leamington at 9 p.m.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible was delighted to award another Silver Bone to Yann Kermorgant not just for the goal but for his contribution throughout. The point was made in the programme that it was the acquisition of the Breton that really completed the side as we needed an aerial threat. His work rate and commitment has been tremendous and it was great to see him wearing part of the trophy as a berry after the game. From his knowledge of him at Leicester, Chris Powell was able to see that he was a real talent who had been sidelined because of a penalty miss.

The Bloke Behind Me is always quick to spot what he sees as any deficiencies in a Charlton player and he thinks that Hamer panics. He does fumble sometimes, but I wouldn't particularly blame him for the two goals yesterday. I certainly don't see a new keeper as a target for the summer. Morrison has been an ever present in the side and once again yesterday he showed that he is usually Mr Reliable who can also get forward when that is required. Taylor was brought back in and he was competent, although it would be interesting to look at his positioning for the two goals. He provided the assist for the second goal. Wiggins has been an ever present and a great acquisition. I voted for him for Player of the Year because I wanted him to get a place. Solly will be named as Player of the Year tonight and it was another excellent performance. According to the programme Stephens is regarded as one of the best players outside the top flight and certainly yesterday he was very energetic and even seemed to have recovered some of the skill he had shown before his operation. Hollands scored an important goal and it was great to see the triplets in the parade. Jackson was playing well before he had to be taken off. I thought that Wagstaff was not very involved and it was the right decision to take him off. He can be very inconsistent. Bradley Wright-Phillips seems to have lost his scoring boots and I think we need to bring in a striker. Haynes displayed energy and no little skill. Pritchard more than played his part when he came on. It was nice to give Euell a cameo to conclude his Charlton career.

Rescue cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman. One wag shouted out, 'last season is it lino?' He made a very strange decision over a throw in.

Friday 4 May 2012

A day for remembering

The anniversary of my father's death was this week and a love of football and Charlton Athletic in particular was a bond that held us together, although the last matches we saw were at Falmouth Town which were worth it just for the pasties.

My father was a reasonably successful non-league footballer. He would never talk about it very much, always answering 'South-East Ham' when he was asked which club he played for, but I believe it was the predecessor of East Ham United as he always got very excited when we went past the ground on the bus. He was apparently good enough to play for a London non-league representative side in Paris and Brussels.

I think that he hoped that I would emulate him, perhaps even making the grade with the Addicks, and when I was seven he presented me with an expensive pair of boots. But I had two left feet and the only sport I ever participated in competitively was orienteering.

Unfortunately I can't remember the first game I saw at The Valley. The first match I remember was our 6-1 defeat of Liverpool for obvious reasons but I know that I had been to many games before then. I used to go through the turnstiles with my father until I was seven. I have to confess I was quite nervous when I first went through the big turnstiles on my own and handed over a few old pennies to a grumpy gatesman.

My mother was also a keen supporter and came down very hard on any referee she thought was biased against the Addicks shouting 'Dirty ref!' at the top of her voice.

My grandmother was a young adult by the time Queen Victoria died, but she took a keen interest in football. This was partly for gambling reasons and she read the Racing and Football Outlook very carefully before completing her coupon. However, she also took a close interest in the fortunes of the Addicks, having lived in the area since the First World War when her husband too a job at the Woolwich Arsenal, and was always eager to discuss issues of promotion and relegation with me.

We only went to a reserve match at The Valley once and I only recently figured out that it was when my grandmother was terminally ill at home and my father sensibly thought that some football, even against Aldershot Reserves, would be a good distraction.

Will Hartlepool spoil promotion party?

I remember when we went up to the Premiership as champions we lost 0-3 at home to Ipswich which took a little of the edge off the celebration and sent the Bloke Behind Me ballistic as he screamed 'Sort it out Curbishley'.

Will Hartlepool spoil our party tomorrow? Their manager is calling it a 'curtain call' and is looking forward to rebuilding the squad over the summer: Monkey hangers

Apparently a lot of their fans are going to come dressed as smurfs, although for some unknown reason they are describing themselves as 'blue and white gnomes': Gnomes . I remember that when our Erith-born eldest was eight or nine we gave her a smurf and she still recalls it now she is a mum with two kids of her own as one of her best presents.

No disrespect to Hartlepool, I have a lot of time for Stuart Drummond who went from being the club's monkey mascot to elected mayor, but they are another team I am glad not to be playing next season. The presenter on PM this evening asked me if I was 'disappointed' about the elected mayors referendum results: what would have really disappointed me was if Charlton had not been promoted.

I need to catch up on my sleep after staying up until 4 a.m. doing election broadcasting, but I am looking forward to the day. I should have put something into my Radio Scilly sports show slot, but it's the biggest sporting weekend of the year on the island (world gig championships), so there wasn't really time. Anyway Keri prefers me to talk about Plymouth Argyle.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Super Alan Pardew: the hero of the hour

The media have a tendency to go overboard on whatever they see as the story of the moment. Earlier in the season it was draw specialists Huddersfield or the claim that Spurs would win the Premiership title. More recently, the two Sheffield clubs have been the subject of fascinated adulation. Now the hero of the hour is Super Alan Pardew, the subject of a two page spread in The Times today.

I was tempted to end the story here and you use the old media ploy of saying 'here is a blank page for your children to write on' when something went wrong in the production process. However, it is worth considering why The Times thinks that SAP is the 'only one credible winner' of the Manager of the Season title.

Admittedly, some objections are considered. It is pointed out that some might think that the award should go to the scouts at Newcastle which found such talents as Cabaye, Tioté and Cisse. There are also those who think that the silver fox already has a big enough ego: 'Perhaps even some of Pardew's peer group in management might fear that such an honour will cause a renewed outbreak of what we might politely call self-confidence - or preening ego if you prefer - that became his reputation in those days when he cruised around in a Ferrai.'

Then there is the matter of unfashionable little London club. It is admitted that 'Fans at Charlton Athletic still struggle to make sense of it all. They remember Pardew as a man who spent big money, certainly by their standards, and failed dismally.' It is pointed out that he was sacked at West Ham when the then chairman talked of 'cutting off a cancer' and then at Southampton.

From a Charlton perspective I suppose that one can say that Pardew inherited a poisoned chalice from Iain Dowie. But then in the season after relegation we were on track for a play off place, he decided to change the team around and we sank to mid-table.

I'm just glad to have Chris Powell in charge.

First false rumour?

Rumours linking the Addicks with Wycombe Wanderers striker Stuart Beavon have been played down by Chris Powell, according to a tweet from Pravda. The Chairboys are certainly concerned about hanging on to Beavon who has an eye for goal. However, this particular story, which appears to have originated on Sky (although I have been unable to confirm this) looks suspiciously like a plant by an agent trying to drum up competition for his client. If clubs start thinking Charlton are interested, then, say, Notts County may take a closer look.

We can expect a lot of this during the summer (when it arrives). It looks like it is going to be chilly on Saturday.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Gasheads sign Gough

Goalkeeper Conor Gough has failed to break into the first team at Charlton, but has been signed by Bristol Rovers. I hope it all works out for him.

More here: Gough

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Sir Chris in the frame at Baggies

West Bromwich Albion are starting to look for a new manager with Roy Hodgson destined to take charge of England, much to the ire of football journos and, we are told, fans.

One name in the frame is Chris Powell. He's not the favourite: that's Chris Hughton. And once again Alan Curbishley is being discussed. However, we may have to get used to a bit of speculation linking Sir Chris with higher level clubs.